Drifting off course is one of those great evil influences which affects the believer as much as the unbeliever. We drift away softly and silently, like a ship floating down the tide. This process is so unconscious because we're floating on such great currents. The currents are both within us and around us. The currents within are the drives of our natural desires--our love of ease and comfort, our fleshly appetites, and our worldliness of spirit. Around us are other tides set in the same direction--great drifts in life itself, the spirit of the age, social customs and habits, materialistic attitudes in business, literature, and entertainment. All these roll around us ceaselessly, touching us, nestling close to us, eating on us, and finding allies in the soul to which they are kin.
It takes no output of energy to float down a stream, or to be carried forward on the crest of a running tide. All that's necessary for a life of drift is to relax, to do nothing, to submit to the worldly influences within us and around us.
It's because the life of drift is so seductively easy to follow that every person who has followed Christ for some time feels the necessity to encourage himself to stand up to and firmly resist life's drifts. Christ is always urging men to develop personal initiative and determination, and to cease being tossed to and fro like leaves on the stream of life. His condemnation of the men who lived in the days of Noah was not that they were men of violence--but that they lived unexamined lives, drifting on the surface of things, yielding weakly to the infection of social influences, eating and drinking in a day of God's visitation.
To be saved demands effort, thoughtfulness, and self-discipline. To be lost makes no such demands. All that's needed is merely to follow the drift. Even when we are conscious that we're drifting from our charted course and that our spiritual senses are becoming duller, there's always a false hope in our minds that a little energy and effort on our part can at any time turn the whole situation around. We underestimate the paralyzing influence of drift.
One winter a bird was seen on a piece of wood floating down the river towards Niagara Falls. It was evidently enjoying the movement of the swiftly gliding stream. It had no sense of danger. Why should it be afraid? Didn't it have wings? Couldn't it just fly off when the point of danger was reached? So it thought, as it rested free from care on the piece of wood which carried it down near the dizzy edge.
When it reached the point of danger it tried to soar, but alas! it could not. The river's mist had frozen upon its wings, and so it miserably perished as the waters plunged over. Isn't there a serious danger that our habits fix us so immovably to the drift of our circumstances that we cannot free ourselves, even when we want to?
What can we do to end the terrible consequences of drifting, and stop the influence of these currents in life that threaten to destroy us? The author of Hebrews gives this practical exhortation, “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1). “What we have heard” are Just the great Gospel facts, truths, values, and warnings, which make and keep us morally and spiritually healthy.
Read again the story of Christ's life and reflect on the significance of His Cross which shows His militant protest against a life of drifting. Let the strong resistance of our Lord to all the drifts of His time lay hold upon our minds and saturate our innermost being, until it steels our wills to a similar endurance. There is only one absolute refuge from drifting, and that is to be safely anchored. A ship securely anchored never drifts. And a life anchored to Christ by the four cables of faith, hope, love, and service, consciously made and continuously tested, will never drift.
The second principle is to actively fight against sleepiness. We can't Just assume that were going to make it through the rivers of life without resisting the currents of the world and the currents of our own hearts, which are lazy and selfish by nature. If we hope to become spiritual men and women we must apply some initiative and effort to the process.
The question I need to ask myself is, am I just drifting along letting the waters of the world shape me? Or, I'm I letting Christ steer, by submitting my will to Him? How was Christ successful while He was here as fully man? He (Christ) was successful because He fully submitted His will to His Father, PaPa God!